Cedric Peerman has consistently been the Bengals’ third or fourth string running back, and has gotten quite few opportunities on offense in his seven seasons with the Bengals. But, his role as the special teams captain and a great contributor with that unit makes his value to the team tremendous. He even made the Pro Bowl in 2015 for his efforts on special teams. Unfortunately, he was hurt for a large portion of the 2016 season and only ended up coming off of Injured Reserve due to Giovani Bernard’s ACL tear.
Once Peerman returned to the team, plenty of areas of the special teams unit that he is involved with improved greatly. PFF even named him the best return blocker this season. At the end of the day, it is impossible to deny Peerman’s impact with the Bengals, therefore, we have to ask the question: is it worth it for the Bengals to bring him back again on that basis?
92 games played, 7 seasons: 70 runs for 349 yards and 1 touchdown, 19 catches for 123 yards, 1 fumble, 2 fumbles recovered, 29 tackles, 9 assisted tackles, 13 kick returns for 190 yards.
2016 season stats
6 games played: 6 runs for 15 yards, 1 catch, 0 yards
Case against re-signing Peerman
Peerman is a 30-year-old running back who has never even come close to being featured at the position. Rex Burkhead has proven himself more as a runner and is younger, so it is hard to justify placing any real priority on Peerman’s return. If his negotiations were to interfere with the return of any other free agent the Bengals are looking to bring back, he probably has to go.
With the Bengals having Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill around, it seems silly to keep a fourth running back. Sure, he has been a great special teams player and the Bengals will miss his impact if he is not re-signed. But, the Bengals could get used to life without him.
Argument for re-signing Peerman
When Peerman returned this season, the special teams unit started playing better. Alex Erickson began to truly hit his stride as a returner later in the season and the Bengals inexplicably became stingier against opposing kick returners.
Unfortunately, Rex Burkhead’s emergence might be seen as a reason to not re-sign Peerman. But, who’s to say the Bengals can’t keep both. The Bengals have kept four running backs on the roster over the last couple of years primarily for insurance purposes because the position is such a violent one to begin with.
Ultimately, it would be a shame if the Bengals were to miss out on being able to re-sign Peerman. He is the special teams captain and sometimes acts more like a player-coach than just a player. His value to the team goes far beyond his lowly status at the running back position.
That said, the bottom line is he is still the fourth string running back and it’s hard to justify the Bengals bringing back a player without much potential at his primary position.
Priority to re-sign: Medium to low